Sunday, December 12, 2010


For most people, at this time of year, baking production goes into high gear. It's a time to take stock of your pantry as well as your baking and spice ingredients. Tossing out the old, for new. Replacing that can of year old baking powder or replacing the five year old bag of slivered almonds, that you used for a cookie recipe and thought you would make day...soon!
In the resturant enviroment, stock is often used soon after it gets placed on the storage shelf. Most items don't see past thirty days. But that does not mean that we will have everything we need when we need it. At times we do, Irepeat DO run out of ingredients. So in the resturant kitchen, it's a smart chef who can pinch-hit and use a substitute and come out with the same end result.

The same goes for the home kitchen. If you do run out of some basic cooking ingredient, it would be great if you knew there was a way to replace what you needed with something else.
Baking powder is a leavening agent, and so another leavening agent is required when substituting for baking powder. To make your own baking powder if you don’t have any, combine 2 teaspoons cream of tartar with 1 teaspoon baking soda to make 1 tablespoon baking powder.
If you find yourself with no cornstarch, flour or tapioca are good substitutes.
For pies, puddings and sauces, including gravies, substitute 2 tablespoons white flour for each tablespoon cornstarch called for in the recipe. For gravies, puddings and sauces, mix the flour with about a half a cup of cool liquid called for in the recipe before adding it to the rest of the recipe to eliminate any lumps.
If your pudding, pie or sauce needs a clear color, use minute tapioca, as flour will leave the product opaque. Substitute 1 tablespoon tapioca for each tablespoon cornstarch called for in the recipe. Follow the soaking directions on the tapioca package before adding to recipe.
If you want to learn more about kitchen substitutions check out the new book  "The Food Substitutions Bible" by David Joachim.  With over 6,500 substitutions, this practical book is enjoyable to read. This new edition of The Food Substitutions Bible has some of the best instructions for the home cook or professional chef who needs to find a great substitution when a vital ingredient is missing at a critical time in the preparation of a recipe.
Every substitution includes exact proportions and precise directions for making accurate, reliable replacements. Out of confectioner's sugar? Finely grind half a cup plus one and a half tablespoons of granulated sugar with three-quarters of a teaspoon of cornstarch in a blender or small food processor.

So next time you find yourself without that much needed baking powder for your cake, or cornstarch for that apple pie, you will know how to pinch -hit a home run!

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